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Naturally hydrating skincare

Weleda’s new skincare range harnesses prickly pear cactus – ‘nature’s answer to hyaluronic acid’
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Weleda's new Prickly Pear Cactus range

Weleda’s new skincare range features a patent-pending plant extract from the prickly pear cactus, which has similar benefits to hyaluronic acid and provides clinically proven hydration for up to 24 hours.

Weleda’s Prickly Pear Cactus range comprises four hydrating heroes for the face and eyes, to supplement and protect the skin’s water reserves.

The formulations have been clinically proven to increase hydration levels and prevent trans-epidermal water loss, helping maintain a healthy skin barrier.

‘Maintaining the skin’s hydration levels and preventing excessive water loss is critical to a healthy skin barrier. Weleda’s prickly pear extract has a unique structure that is better able to store moisture making for a higher water-binding capacity which is why it is known as ‘nature’s answer to hyaluronic acid.

‘In a consumer survey conducted by Beauty Bible, the range performed exceptionally; 93% of users agreed that the products gave their skin a long-lasting moisture boost.’

Independent consultant dermatologist

Prickly pear’s secrets

Despite the dry-looking exterior of the prickly pear cactus, this desert plant is bursting with moisture. It can thrive and blossom in the driest of climates, and withstand increasing temperatures and decreasing water supplies.

Prickly pear cactus stores water in its broad, paddle-shaped lobes (‘cladodes’). The juicy, moisture-rich mucilage inside allows the plant to maintain its balance even in an extreme climate.

This mucilage is like a plant version of our skin’s natural hyaluronic acid reserves, containing polysaccharides (sugars) that attract and retain moisture.

Weleda’s 100% natural extract of organic prickly pear cactus is sustainably sourced to UEBT (Union for Ethical Bio Trade) standards from Jalisco in Mexico.

Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a polysaccharide naturally present in skin where it binds water to keep skin hydrated. It’s scientifically proven that Weleda’s prickly pear cactus mucilage is rich in polysaccharides (containing 70%), which is why it’s known as ‘nature’s answer to hyaluronic acid’.

The difference between hyaluronic acid and prickly pear saccharides is structure. Instead HA’s linear format, prickly pear has a random coil structure creating a more efficient web, which is better able to store water.

‘Due to the pandemic, we are seeing issues arising from damage to the skin caused by the use of soaps and hand gels. Our skin has natural fats and proteins that make up the skin barrier.

‘Frequent hand washing with foaming washes and soaps start to remove these skin oils. The
naturally acidic pH of the skin is compromised with alkaline soaps and there is increased trans-epidermal water loss.

‘Skin that is out of balance, can no longer hold water and starts to become dry, irritated and inflamed, and in some cases, an irritant eczema develops. A compromised skin barrier is also more vulnerable to becoming sensitised with common allergens such as perfumes and preservatives and as such, developing a contact allergic dermatitis.

‘Supplementing the skin’s barrier with moisturisers – designed to hold water in the skin and prevent it from evaporating, and hydrators to attract water to the skin, helps maintain a healthy balance.’

Independent consultant dermatologist

A first for Weleda

Of the choice of all the plants out there, Weleda used its 100 years of phyto-pharmaceutical expertise to narrow down and understand the plant best suited to water storage and found it in prickly pear. Its botanical name is Opuntia ficus indica.

‘This is Weleda’s first ever patented process for a plant extract. The Prickly Pear Cactus collection has taken us six years to develop and is an exciting addition to our facial care line-up.’

Managing director, Weleda UK

Weleda makes its own prickly pear cactus extract in-house that is quite different to the prickly pear seed oils and flower extracts you may have heard of.

Weleda uses a patent-pending process, where the dried cactus leaves are processed to extract the mucilage which captures the highest level of hydrating agents from the plant.

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